Henry VIII, King of England - 17 poems - Classic Poetry Series

Classic Poetry Series
Henry VIII, King of England
- 17 poems -
Publication Date:
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Henry VIII, King of England (28 June 1491 – 28 January
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was
Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by
the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second
monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII.
Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation
of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry's struggles
with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal
authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the
Supreme Head of the Church of England. Yet he remained a believer in core
Catholic theological teachings, even after his excommunication from the
Catholic Church. Henry oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with
the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542.
Henry was considered an attractive, educated and accomplished king in his
prime and has a reputation as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on
the English throne". Besides ruling with absolute power, he also engaged
himself as an author and composer. His desire to provide England with a
male heir—which stemmed partly from personal vanity and partly because he
believed a daughter would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty and
the fragile peace that existed following the Wars of the Roses—led to the two
things for which Henry is remembered: his six marriages, and the English
Reformation, making England a mostly Protestant nation. In later life he
became morbidly obese and his health suffered; his public image is
frequently depicted as one of a lustful, egotistical, harsh, and insecure king.
Early years: 1491–1509
Born at Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII was the third child of Henry VII and
Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three — Arthur,
Prince of Wales; Margaret; and Mary — survived infancy. In 1493, at the age
of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of
the Cinque Ports. In 1494, he was made Duke of York. He was subsequently
appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Henry was
given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin,
French, and Spanish. As it was expected that the throne would pass to Prince
Arthur, Henry's older brother, Henry was prepared for a clerical career.
Elizabeth of York, his mother, died when Henry was aged 11.
Death of Prince Arthur
In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15, after only 20 weeks of marriage to
Catherine of Aragon. Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon his younger
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brother, the 10-year-old Henry, who then became Prince of Wales. Henry VII
renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by
offering his second son in marriage to Prince Arthur's widow, Catherine of
Aragon, youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen
Isabella I of Castile. For the new Prince of Wales to marry his brother's
widow, a dispensation from the Pope was normally required to overrule the
impediment of affinity because, as told in the Book of Leviticus, "If a brother
is to marry the wife of a brother they will remain childless." Catherine swore
that her marriage to Prince Arthur had not been consummated. Still, both the
English and Spanish parties agreed that an additional papal dispensation of
affinity would be prudent to remove all doubt regarding the legitimacy of the
The impatience of Catherine's mother, Queen Isabella I, induced Pope Julius
II to grant dispensation in the form of a Papal bull. So, 14 months after her
young husband's death, Catherine was betrothed to his even younger
brother, Henry. Yet by 1505, Henry VII lost interest in a Spanish alliance and
the younger Henry declared that his betrothal had been arranged without his
Continued diplomatic manoeuvring over the fate of the proposed marriage
lingered until the death of Henry VII in 1509. Only 17 years old, Henry
married Catherine on 11 June 1509 and, on 24 June 1509, the two were
crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Early reign: 1509–1525
Two days after his coronation, he arrested his father's two most unpopular
ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley (grandfather of Henry's
daughter Elizabeth's favourite courtier, Robert Dudley). They were charged
with high treason and were executed in 1510. This was to become Henry's
primary tactic for dealing with those who stood in his way, as believed by
historians such as Crofton. Henry also returned to the public some of the
money supposedly extorted by the two ministers.
... his executors made restitution of great sums of money, to many persons
taken against good conscience to the said king's use, by the forenamed
Empson and Dudley.
Henry cultivated the image of a Renaissance Man and his court was a centre
of scholarly and artistic innovation and glamorous excess, epitomised by the
Field of the Cloth of Gold. He was an accomplished musician, author, and
poet. His best known musical composition is "Pastime with Good Company"
or "The Kynges Ballade". He was an avid gambler and dice player, and
excelled at sports, especially jousting, hunting, and real tennis. He was
known for his strong defence of conventional Christian piety. Meeting Francis
I on 7 June 1520 near Calais, he entertained the French king with a fortnight
of lavish entertainment to establish a closer diplomatic relationship after the
military conflicts of the previous decade.
France and the Habsburgs
In 1511 Pope Julius II proclaimed a Holy League against France. The new
alliance rapidly grew to include not only Spain and the Holy Roman Empire
but England as well. Henry decided to use the occasion to expand his
holdings in northern France. He concluded the Treaty of Westminster, a
pledge of mutual aid with Spain against France, in November 1511 and
prepared for involvement in the War of the League of Cambrai.
In 1513 Henry invaded France and his troops defeated a French army at the
Battle of the Spurs. His brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, invaded
England at the behest of Louis XII of France, but failed to draw Henry's
attention away from France. The English army, led by Queen Catherine, who
acted as regent of England while Henry was in France, defeated the Scots at
the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513. Among the dead was the
Scottish King James IV, ending Scotland's brief involvement in the war.
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On 18 February 1516 Queen Catherine bore Henry his first child to survive
infancy, Princess Mary. (A son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, had been born in
1511 but lived only a few weeks.)
Power and authority
Financially, the reign of Henry was a near-disaster. Although he inherited a
prosperous economy (and further augmented his royal treasury by seizures
of church lands), Henry's heavy spending and high taxes damaged the
economy. For example, Henry expanded the Royal Navy from 5 to 53 ships.
He loved palaces; he began with a dozen and died with fifty-five, in which he
hung 2,000 tapestries. By comparison, his neighbour and nephew James V of
Scotland had five palaces and 200 tapestries. He took pride in showing off
his collection of weapons, which included exotic archery equipment, 2,250
pieces of land ordnance and 6,500 handguns.
Henry began his reign with heavy reliance on advisers and ended with
complete control. From 1514 to 1529, Thomas Wolsey (1473–1530), a
Catholic cardinal, served as lord chancellor and practically controlled
domestic and foreign policy for the young king. He negotiated the truce with
France that was signalled by the dramatic display of amity on the Field of the
Cloth of Gold (1520). He switched England back and forth as an ally of
France and the Holy Roman Empire. Wolsey centralised the national
government and extended the jurisdiction of the conciliar courts, particularly
the Star Chamber. His use of forced loans to pay for foreign wars angered
the rich, who were annoyed as well by his enormous wealth and ostentatious
living. Wolsey disappointed the king when he failed to secure a quick divorce
from Queen Catherine. The treasury was empty after years of extravagance;
the peers and people were dissatisfied and Henry needed an entirely new
approach; Wolsey had to be replaced. After 16 years at the top he lost power
in 1529 and in 1530 was arrested on false charges of treason and died in
custody. Wolsey's fall was a warning to the Pope and to the clergy of England
of what might be expected for failure to comply with the king's wishes. Henry
then took full control of his government, although at court numerous
complex factions continued to try to ruin and destroy each other.
Geoffrey Elton (1962) argues there was a major Tudor revolution in
government. While crediting Henry with intelligence and shrewdness, Elton
finds that much of the positive action, especially the break with Rome, was
the work of Thomas Cromwell and not the king. Elton sees Henry as
competent, but too lazy to take direct control of affairs for any extended
period; that is, the king was an opportunist who relied on others for most of
his ideas and to do most of the work. Henry's marital adventures are part of
Elton's chain of evidence; a man who marries six wives, Elton notes, is not
someone who fully controls his own fate. Elton shows that Thomas Cromwell
had conceived of a commonwealth of England that included popular
participation through Parliament and that this was generally expressed in the
preambles to legislation. Parliamentary consent did not mean that the king
had yielded any of his authority; Henry VIII was a paternalistic ruler who did
not hesitate to use his power. Popular "consent" was a means to augment
rather than limit royal power.
Henry never formally repudiated the doctrines of the Catholic Church, but he
declared himself supreme head of the church in England in 1534. This,
combined with subsequent actions, eventually resulted in a separated
church, the Church of England. Henry and his advisors felt the pope was
acting in the role of an Italian prince involved in secular affairs, which
obscured his religious role. They said Rome treated England as a minor
stepchild, allowing it one cardinal out of fifty, and no possibility of that
cardinal becoming pope. For reasons of state it was increasingly intolerable
to Henry that major decisions in England were settled by Italians. The
divorce issue exemplified the problem but was not itself the cause of the
Henry's reformation of the English church involved more complex motives
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and methods than his desire for a new wife and an heir. Henry asserted that
his first marriage had never been valid, but the divorce issue was only one
factor in Henry's desire to reform the church. In 1532–1537, he instituted a
number of statutes — the act of appeal (Statute in Restraint of Appeals,
1533), the various Acts of Succession (1533, 1534, and 1536), the first Act
of Supremacy (1534), and others — that dealt with the relationship between
the king and the pope and the structure of the Church of England. During
these years, Henry suppressed monasteries and pilgrimage shrines in his
attempt to reform the church. The king was always the dominant force in the
making of religious policy; his policy, which he pursued skilfully and
consistently, is best characterised as a search for the middle way.
Questions over what was the true faith were resolved with the adoption of
the orthodox "Act of Six Articles" (1539) and a careful holding of the balance
between extreme factions after 1540. Even so, the era saw movement away
from religious orthodoxy, the more so as the pillars of the old beliefs,
especially Thomas More and John Fisher, had been unable to accept the
change and had been executed in 1535 for refusing to renounce papal
authority. Critical for the Henrician reformation was the new political
theology of obedience to the prince that was enthusiastically adopted by the
Church of England in the 1530s. It reflected Martin Luther's new
interpretation of the fourth commandment ("Honor thy father and mother")
and was mediated to an English audience by William Tyndale.
The founding of royal authority on the Ten Commandments, and thus on the
word of God, was a particularly attractive feature of this doctrine, which
became a defining feature of Henrician religion. Rival tendencies within the
Church of England sought to exploit it in the pursuit of their particular
agendas. Reformers strove to preserve its connections with the broader
framework of Lutheran theology, with the emphasis on faith alone and the
word of God, while conservatives emphasised good works, ceremonies, and
charity. The Reformers linked royal supremacy and the word of God to
persuade Henry to publish the Great Bible in 1539, an English translation
that was a formidable prop for his new-found dignity.
Response to the reforms was mixed. The reforms, which closed down
monasteries that were the only support of the impoverished, alienated most
of the population outside of London and helped provoke the great northern
rising of 1536–1537, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. It was the only real
threat to Henry's security on the throne in all his reign. Some 30,000 rebels
in nine groups were led by the charismatic Robert Aske, together with most
of the northern nobility. Aske went to London to negotiate terms; once there
he was arrested, charged with treason and executed. About 200 rebels were
executed and the disturbances ended. Elsewhere the changes were accepted
and welcomed, and those who clung to Catholic rites kept quiet or moved in
secrecy. They would reemerge in the reign of Henry's daughter Mary
Dissolving the monasteries
England possessed numerous religious houses that owned large tracts of land
worked by tenants. Henry dissolved them (1536–1541) and transferred a
fifth of England's landed wealth to new hands. The program was designed
primarily to create a landed gentry beholden to the crown, which would use
the lands much more efficiently.
Henry made radical changes in traditional religious practices. He ordered the
clergy to preach against superstitious images, relics, miracles, and
pilgrimages, and to remove most candles. The catechism of 1545, called the
King's Primer, left out the saints. Latin rituals gave way to English. Shrines to
saints were destroyed — including the popular one of St. Thomas of
Canterbury — and relics were ridiculed as worthless old bones.
Contrary to popular belief, Henry may not have had very many affairs
outside marriage. Apart from women he later married, the identities of only
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two mistresses are completely undisputed: Elizabeth Blount and Mary
Boleyn. However, it is unlikely that they were the only two; Alison Weir has
argued that, aside from the affairs listed below, there were numerous other
short-term and secret liaisons, most of them conducted in the king's
river-side mansion of Jordan House.
Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount gave birth in June 1519 to Henry's illegitimate son,
Henry FitzRoy. The young boy was made Duke of Richmond in June 1525 in
what some thought was one step on the path to legitimising him. In 1533,
FitzRoy married Mary Howard, Anne Boleyn's first cousin, but died three
years later without any children. At the time of FitzRoy's death (July 1536),
Parliament was enacting the Second Succession Act, which could have
allowed Henry's illegitimate son to become king.
Mary Boleyn was Henry's mistress before her sister, Anne, became his
second wife. She is thought to have been Catherine's lady-in-waiting at some
point between 1519 and 1526. There has been speculation that Mary's two
children, Catherine and Henry, were fathered by Henry, but this has never
been proved and the King never acknowledged them as he did Henry
In 1510 it was reported that Henry was conducting an affair with one of the
sisters of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, either Elizabeth or Anne
Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon. Her brother, the Duke of Buckingham,
became enraged and Lord George Hastings, her husband, sent her to a
convent. Eustace Chapuys wrote, "the husband of that lady went away,
carried her off and placed her in a convent sixty miles from here, that no one
may see her."
Biographer Antonia Fraser has claimed that Henry had an affair with Mary
Shelton in 1535, in opposition to the traditional belief that Margaret
("Madge") Shelton was Henry's lover.
King's Great Matter: 1525–1533
The Six Wives of
Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Jane Seymour
Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard
Catherine Parr
Henry became impatient with Catherine's inability to produce the heir he
desired. All of Catherine's children died in infancy except their daughter
Mary. Henry wanted a male heir to consolidate the power of the Tudor
In 1525, as Henry grew more impatient, he became enamoured of a
charismatic young woman in the Queen's entourage, Anne Boleyn. Anne at
first resisted his attempts to seduce her, and refused to become his mistress
as her sister Mary Boleyn had. She said "I beseech your highness most
earnestly to desist, and to this my answer in good part. I would rather lose
my life than my honesty." This refusal made Henry even more attracted, and
he pursued her relentlessly.
Eventually, Anne saw her opportunity in Henry's infatuation and determined
she would only yield to his embraces as his acknowledged queen. It soon
became the King's absorbing desire to annul his marriage to Catherine.
Henry appealed directly to the Holy See, independently from Cardinal
Thomas Wolsey, from whom he kept his plans for Anne secret. Instead,
Henry's secretary, William Knight, was sent to Pope Clement VII to sue for
the annulment. The grounds were that the bull of Pope Julius II was obtained
by false pretences, because Catherine's brief marriage to the sickly Arthur
had been consummated. Henry petitioned, in the event of annulment, a
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dispensation to marry again to any woman even in the first degree of
affinity, whether the affinity was contracted by lawful or unlawful connection.
This clearly had reference to Anne.
However, as the pope was at that time imprisoned by Catherine's nephew,
Emperor Charles V, Knight had difficulty in getting access to him, and so only
managed to obtain the conditional dispensation for a new marriage. Henry
now had no choice but to put the matter into the hands of Wolsey. Wolsey
did all he could to secure a decision in the King's favour, going so far as to
arrange an ecclesiastical court to meet in England, with a representative
from the Pope.
Shakespeare's play, Henry VIII, accurately records Catherine of Aragon's
astounding coup in that remarkable courtroom in Act II, scene iv. She bows
low to Henry, put herself at his mercy, states her case with irrefutable
eloquence and then sweeps out of the courtroom, a woman both formidable
and clearly wronged. However much this moment swayed those present and
the rest of the world to her side, the Pope had never had any intention of
empowering his legate. Charles V resisted the annulment of his aunt's
marriage, but it is not clear how far this influenced the pope. But it is clear
that Henry saw that the Pope was unlikely to give him an annulment from
the Emperor's aunt. The pope forbade Henry to proceed to a new marriage
before a decision was given in Rome, not in England. Wolsey bore the blame.
Convinced that he was treacherous, Anne Boleyn maintained pressure until
Wolsey was dismissed from public office in 1529. After being dismissed, the
cardinal begged her to help him return to power, but she refused. He then
began a plot to have Anne forced into exile and began communication with
Queen Catherine and the Pope to that end. When this was discovered, Henry
ordered Wolsey's arrest and had it not been for his death from illness in
1530, he might have been executed for treason. His replacement, Sir
Thomas More, initially cooperated with the king's new policy, denouncing
Wolsey in Parliament and proclaiming the opinion of the theologians at
Oxford and Cambridge that the marriage of Henry to Catherine had been
unlawful. As Henry began to deny the authority of the Pope, More's qualms
A year later, Queen Catherine was banished from court and her rooms were
given to Anne. With Wolsey gone, Anne had considerable power over political
matters. She was an unusually educated and intellectual woman for her time,
and was keenly absorbed and engaged with the ideas of the Protestant
Reformers. When Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham died, Anne had
the Boleyn family's chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, appointed to the vacant
position. Through the intervention of the King of France, this was conceded
by Rome, the pallium being granted to him by Clement.
Breaking the power of Rome in England proceeded slowly. In 1532, a lawyer
who was a supporter of Anne, Thomas Cromwell, brought before Parliament
a number of acts including the Supplication against the Ordinaries and the
Submission of the Clergy, which recognised Royal Supremacy over the
church. Following these acts, Thomas More resigned as Chancellor, leaving
Cromwell as Henry's chief minister.
Second marriage
In the winter of 1532, Henry attended a meeting with Francis I of France at
Calais in which he enlisted the support of the French king for his new
marriage. Immediately upon returning to Dover in England, Henry and Anne
went through a secret wedding service. She soon became pregnant and
there was a second wedding service in London on 25 January 1533. On 23
May 1533, Cranmer, sitting in judgment at a special court convened at
Dunstable Priory to rule on the validity of the king's marriage to Catherine of
Aragon, declared the marriage of Henry and Catherine null and void. Five
days later, on 28 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and
Anne to be valid.
Catherine was formally stripped of her title as queen, and Anne was crowned
queen consort on 1 June 1533. The queen gave birth to a daughter slightly
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prematurely on 7 September 1533. The child was christened Elizabeth, in
honour of Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York. Rejecting the decisions of the
Pope, Parliament validated the marriage of Henry and Anne with the First
Succession Act (Act of Succession 1533). Catherine's daughter, Mary, was
declared illegitimate, and Anne's issue were declared next in the line of
succession. Most notable in this declaration was a clause repudiating "any
foreign authority, prince or potentate". All adults in the Kingdom were
required to acknowledge the Act's provisions by oath; those who refused
were subject to imprisonment for life. Any publisher or printer of any
literature alleging that the marriage was invalid was automatically guilty of
high treason and could be punished by death.
Separation from Rome: 1533–1540
Meanwhile, Parliament had forbidden all appeals to Rome and exacted the
penalties of praemunire against all who introduced papal bulls into England.
Parliament prohibited the Church from making any regulations (canons)
without the king's consent. It was only then that Pope Clement at last took
the step of launching sentences of excommunication against Henry and
Thomas Cranmer, declaring at the same time the archbishop's decree of
annulment to be invalid and the marriage with Anne null and papal nuncio
was withdrawn from England and diplomatic relations with Rome were
broken off.
Several more laws were passed in England. The Ecclesiastical Appointments
Act 1534 required the clergy to elect bishops nominated by the Sovereign.
The Act of Supremacy in 1534 declared that the King was "the only Supreme
Head in Earth of the Church of England" and the Treasons Act 1534 made it
high treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge the King as
such. In response to the excommunications, the Peter's Pence Act was
passed in and it reiterated that England had "no superior under God, but only
your Grace" and that Henry's "imperial crown" had been diminished by "the
unreasonable and uncharitable usurpations and exactions" of the Pope.
In defiance of the Pope the Church of England was now under Henry’s
control, not Rome's. Protestant Reformers still faced persecution, particularly
over objections to Henry's annulment. Many fled abroad where they met
further difficulties, including the influential William Tyndale, who was
eventually executed and his body burned at King Henry's behest. Theological
and practical reforms would follow only under Henry's successors (see end of
Personal troubles
The king and queen were not pleased with married life. The royal couple
enjoyed periods of calm and affection, but Anne refused to play the
submissive role expected of her. The vivacity and opinionated intellect that
had made her so attractive as an illicit lover made her too independent for
the largely ceremonial role of a royal wife, given that Henry expected
absolute obedience from those who interacted with him in an official capacity
at court. It made her many enemies. For his part, Henry disliked Anne’s
constant irritability and violent temper. After a false pregnancy or
miscarriage in 1534, he saw her failure to give him a son as a betrayal. As
early as Christmas 1534, Henry was discussing with Cranmer and Cromwell
the chances of leaving Anne without having to return to Catherine.
Opposition to Henry's religious policies was quickly suppressed in England. A
number of dissenting monks were tortured and executed. The most
prominent resisters included John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and Sir
Thomas More, Henry's former Lord Chancellor, both of who refused to take
the oath to the King and were subsequently convicted of high treason and
beheaded at Tower Hill, just outside the Tower of London.
These suppressions, including the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries Act
of 1536, in turn contributed to further resistance among the English people,
most notably in the Pilgrimage of Grace, a large uprising in northern England
in October, 1536. Henry VIII promised the rebels he would pardon them and
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thanked them for raising the issues to his attention, then invited the rebel
leader, Robert Aske to a royal banquet. At the banquet, Henry asked Aske to
write down what had happened so he could have a better idea of the
problems he would "change." Aske did what the King asked, although what
he had written was later used against him as a confession. The King's word
could not be questioned (as he was held as God's chosen, and second only to
God himself) so Aske told the rebels they had been successful and they could
disperse and go home. However, because Henry saw the rebels as traitors,
he did not feel obliged to keep his promises. The rebels realised that the King
was not keeping his promises and rebelled again later that year, but their
strength was less in the second attempt and the King ordered the rebellion
crushed. The leaders, including Aske, were arrested and executed for
Execution of Anne Boleyn
On 8 January 1536 news reached the king and the queen that Catherine of
Aragon had died. Upon hearing the news of her death, Henry and Anne
reportedly decked themselves in bright yellow clothing, yellow being the
colour of mourning in Spain at the time. Henry called for public displays of
joy regarding Catherine's death. The queen was pregnant again, and she was
aware of the consequences if she failed to give birth to a son. Her life could
be in danger, as with both wives dead, Henry would be free to remarry and
no one could claim that the union was illegal. Later that month, the King was
unhorsed in a tournament and was badly injured. It seemed for a time that
the King's life was in danger. When news of this accident reached the queen,
she was sent into shock and miscarried a male child that was about 15
weeks old, on the day of Catherine’s funeral, 29 January 1536. For most
observers, this personal loss was the beginning of the end of the royal
Given the King's desperate desire for a son, the sequence of Anne's
pregnancies has attracted much interest. Author Mike Ashley speculated that
Anne had two stillborn children after Elizabeth's birth and before the birth of
the male child she miscarried in 1536. Most sources attest only to the birth
of Elizabeth in September 1533, a possible miscarriage in the summer of
1534, and the miscarriage of a male child, of almost four months gestation,
in January 1536. As Anne recovered from her final miscarriage, Henry
declared that his marriage had been the product of witchcraft. The King's
new mistress, Jane Seymour, was quickly moved into new quarters. This was
followed by Anne's brother, George Boleyn, being refused a prestigious court
honour, the Order of the Garter, which was instead given to Jane Seymour's
Five men, including Anne's own brother, were arrested on charges of incest
and treason, accused of having sexual relationships with the queen. On 2
May 1536 Anne was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. She was
accused of adultery, incest and high treason. Although the evidence against
them was unconvincing, the accused were found guilty and condemned to
death by the peers. George Boleyn and the other accused men were
executed on 17 May 1536. At 8 am on 19 May 1536, the queen was
executed on Tower Green. She knelt upright, in the French style of
executions. The execution was swift and consisted of a single stroke.
Birth of a prince
One day after Anne's execution in 1536 Henry became engaged to Jane
Seymour, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting to whom the king had been
showing favour for some time. They were married 10 days later. At about the
same time as this, his third marriage, Henry granted his assent to the Laws
in Wales Act 1535, which legally annexed Wales, uniting England and Wales
into one unified nation. This was followed by the Second Succession Act (Act
of Succession 1536), which declared Henry's children by Queen Jane to be
next in the line of succession and declared both the Lady Mary and the Lady
Elizabeth illegitimate, thus excluding them from the throne. The king was
granted the power to further determine the line of succession in his will. In
1537, Jane gave birth to a son, Prince Edward, the future Edward VI. The
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birth was difficult and the queen died at Hampton Court Palace on 24
October 1537 from an infection. After Jane's death, the entire court mourned
with Henry for an extended period. Henry considered Jane to be his "true"
wife, being the only one who had given him the male heir he so desperately
sought. He was later to be buried next to her at his death.
Final years: 1540–1547
In 1540, Henry sanctioned the destruction of shrines to saints. At this time,
Henry wished to marry once again to ensure the succession. Thomas
Cromwell, created Earl of Essex, suggested Anne, the sister of the Protestant
Duke of Cleves, who was seen as an important ally in case of a Roman
Catholic attack on England. Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to
Cleves to paint a portrait of Anne for the king. Despite speculation that
Holbein painted her in an overly flattering light, it is more likely that the
portrait was accurate; Holbein remained in favour at court. After regarding
Holbein's portrayal, and urged by the complimentary description of Anne
given by his courtiers (and the fact that many others whom Holbein painted
had no desire to risk marriage with Henry), the king agreed to wed Anne. On
Anne's arrival in England, Henry is said to have found her unattractive,
privately calling her a "Flanders Mare". There is no record of Anne's opinion
of the relative attractions of her morbidly obese new husband.
Henry wished to annul the marriage so he could marry another. The Duke of
Cleves had become engaged in a dispute with the Holy Roman Emperor, with
whom Henry had no desire to quarrel. Queen Anne was intelligent enough
not to impede Henry's quest for an annulment. Upon the question of marital
sex, she testified that her marriage had never been consummated. Henry
was said to have come into the room each night and merely kissed his new
bride on the forehead before retiring. All impediments to an annulment were
thus removed.
The marriage was subsequently dissolved and Anne received the title of "The
King's Sister", and was granted Hever Castle, the former residence of the
Boleyn family. Cromwell, meanwhile, fell out of favour for his role in
arranging the marriage and was subsequently attainted and beheaded. The
office of Vicegerent in Spirituals, which had been specifically created for him,
was not filled.
On 28 July 1540 (the same day Cromwell was executed), Henry married the
young Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn's first cousin and a lady-in-waiting of
Anne's. He was absolutely delighted with his new queen. Soon after her
marriage, however, Queen Catherine had an affair with the courtier Thomas
Culpeper. She employed Francis Dereham, who was previously informally
engaged to her and had an affair with her prior to her marriage, as her
secretary. Thomas Cranmer, who was opposed to the powerful Roman
Catholic Howard family, brought evidence of Queen Catherine's activities to
the king's notice. Though Henry originally refused to believe the allegations,
he allowed Cranmer to conduct an investigation, which resulted in Queen
Catherine's implication. When questioned, the queen could have admitted a
prior contract to marry Dereham, which would have made her subsequent
marriage to Henry invalid, but she instead claimed that Dereham had forced
her to enter into an adulterous relationship. Dereham, meanwhile, exposed
Queen Catherine's relationship with Thomas Culpeper. Catherine was
executed on 13 February 1542. She was aged between 17 and 22 when she
died (opinions differ as to her year of birth). That same year, England's
remaining monasteries were all dissolved, and their property transferred to
the Crown. Abbots and priors lost their seats in the House of Lords; only
archbishops and bishops came to comprise the ecclesiastical element of the
body. The Lords Spiritual, as members of the clergy with seats in the House
of Lords were known, were for the first time outnumbered by the Lords
Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife.
Henry married his last wife, the wealthy widow Catherine Parr, in 1543. She
argued with Henry over religion; she was a reformer, but Henry remained a
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conservative. This behaviour nearly proved her undoing, but she saved
herself by a show of submissiveness. She helped reconcile Henry with his
first two daughters, the Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth. In 1544, an Act of
Parliament put the daughters back in the line of succession after Edward,
Prince of Wales, though they were still deemed illegitimate. The same act
allowed Henry to determine further succession to the throne in his will.
A wave of political executions that commenced with Edmund de la Pole, Duke
of Suffolk in 1513 ended with Henry Earl of Surrey in January, 1547.
Although some sources claim that, according to Holinshed, the number of
executions in this reign amounted to 72,000, the figure referred to "great
thieves, petty thieves, and rogues," and the source is not Holinshed but the
English clergyman William Harrison. This inflated figure came from Gerolamo
Cardano who in turn got it from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lisieux.
Death and succession
Late in life, Henry became obese (with a waist measurement of 54
inches/137 cm) and had to be moved about with the help of mechanical
inventions. He was covered with painful, pus-filled boils and possibly suffered
from gout. His obesity and other medical problems can be traced from a
jousting accident in 1536 in which he suffered a leg wound. The accident
actually re-opened and aggravated a previous leg wound he had sustained
years earlier, to the extent that his doctors found it difficult (if not
impossible) to treat it. The wound festered for the remainder of his life and
became ulcerated, thus preventing him from maintaining the same level of
physical activity he had previously enjoyed. The jousting accident is believed
to have caused Henry's mood swings, which may have had a dramatic effect
on his personality and temperament.
The theory that Henry suffered from syphilis has been dismissed by most
serious historians. Syphilis was a well-known disease in Henry's time, and
although his contemporary Francis I of France was treated for it, the notes
left from Henry's physicians do not indicate that the English king was. A
more recent and credible theory suggests that Henry's medical symptoms,
and those of his older sister Margaret Tudor, are characteristic of untreated
Type II diabetes. According to research published in March 2011, his wives'
pattern of pregnancies and his mental deterioration suggests that the king
may have been Kell positive and suffered from McLeod syndrome.
Obesity specialists at Imperial College London have analysed Henry VIII’s
history and body morphology to identify that this was likely as a result of
traumatic brain injury after his 1536 jousting accident, which in turn led to a
neuroendocrine cause of his obesity. This analysis identifies growth hormone
deficiency (GHD) as the source for his increased adiposity but also significant
behavioural changes (multiple marriages and war with France) noted in his
later years.
Henry's obesity hastened his death at the age of 55, which occurred on 28
January 1547 in the Palace of Whitehall, on what would have been his
father's 90th birthday. He expired soon after allegedly uttering his last
words: "Monks! Monks! Monks!", perhaps in reference to the monks he
caused to be evicted during the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry VIII
was Interred in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to his wife Jane
Seymour.Over a hundred years later Charles I was buried in the same vault.
Within a little more than a decade after his death, all three of his royal heirs
sat on the English throne, but none of the three left any descendants. Under
the Act of Succession 1543, Henry's only surviving legitimate son, Edward,
inherited the Crown, becoming Edward VI. Since Edward was only nine years
old at the time, he could not exercise actual power. Henry's will designated
16 executors to serve on a council of regency until Edward reached the age
of 18. The executors chose Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, Jane
Seymour's elder brother, to be Lord Protector of the Realm. In default of
heirs to Edward, the throne was to pass to Henry VIII's daughter by
Catherine of Aragon, the Princess Mary, and her heirs. If Mary's issue failed,
the crown was to go to Henry's daughter by Anne Boleyn, Princess Elizabeth,
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and her heirs. Finally, if Elizabeth's line became extinct, the crown was to be
inherited by the descendants of Henry VIII's deceased younger sister, Mary.
The descendants of Henry's sister Margaret Tudor — the royal family of
Scotland — were therefore excluded from succession according to this act.
This final provision failed when James VI of Scotland subsequently became
James I of England upon Elizabeth's death.
Public image and memory
Henry worked hard to present an image of unchallengeable authority and
irresistible power. He executed at will, beheading, often in public, more
English notables than any monarch before or since. The roll of heads
included two wives, twenty peers, four leading public servants, and six of the
king's close attendants and friends, not to mention one cardinal and various
heads of monasteries. In addition Cardinal Wolsey died en route to his
treason trial.
A strong man, over six feet tall and broad in proportion, he excelled at
jousting and hunting. More than pastimes, they were political devices that
served multiple goals, from enhancing his athletic royal image to impressing
foreign emissaries and rulers, to conveying Henry's ability to suppress any
rebellion. Thus he arranged a jousting tournament at Greenwich in 1517,
where he wore gilded armour, gilded horse trappings, and outfits of velvet,
satin and cloth of gold dripping with pearls and jewels. It suitably impressed
foreign ambassadors, one of who wrote home that, "The wealth and
civilisation of the world are here, and those who call the English barbarians
appear to me to render themselves such." Henry finally retired from the lists
in 1536 after a heavy fall from his horse left him unconscious for two hours,
but he continued to sponsor two lavish tournaments a year. He then started
adding weight and lost that trim athletic look that had made him so
handsome; Henry's courtiers began dressing in heavily padded clothes to
emulate — and flatter — their increasingly stout monarch. Towards the end
of his reign his health rapidly declined due to unhealthy eating.
Henry was an intellectual. The first English king with a modern humanist
education, who read and wrote English, French, Latin and was thoroughly at
home in his well-stocked library; he personally annotated many books and
wrote and published his own book. He is also said to have written Helas
madam. He founded Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford, in 1546. To
promote the public support for the reformation of the church, Henry had
numerous pamphlets and lectures prepared. For example, Richard Sampson's
Oratio (1534) was a legalistic argument for absolute obedience to the
temporal power as vested in divine law and Christian love ("obey my
commandments"). Sampson cited historical precedents (now known to be
spurious) to support his claim that the English church had always been
independent from Rome. At the popular level theatre and minstrel troupes
funded by the crown travelled around the land to promote the new religious
practices and ridicule the old. In the polemical plays they presented, the
pope and Catholic priests and monks were mocked as foreign devils, while
the glorious king was hailed as a brave and heroic defender of the true faith.
Henry VIII was an avid gambler and dice player. He was an accomplished
musician, author, and poet; his best known piece of music is "Pastime with
Good Company" ("The Kynges Ballade"). He is often reputed to have written
"Greensleeves" but probably did not. The King was involved in the original
construction and improvement of several significant buildings, including
Nonsuch Palace, King's College Chapel, Cambridge and Westminster Abbey in
London. Many of the existing buildings Henry improved were properties
confiscated from Wolsey, such as Christ Church, Oxford, Hampton Court
Palace, the Palace of Whitehall, and Trinity College, Cambridge.
The only surviving piece of clothing worn by Henry VIII is a cap of
maintenance awarded to the Mayor of Waterford, along with a bearing
sword, in 1536. It currently resides in the Waterford Museum of Treasures. A
suit of Henry's armour is on display in the Tower of London. In the centuries
since his death, Henry has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic
and cultural works.
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Royal finances
Henry inherited a vast fortune from his father Henry VII who had, in contrast
to his son, been frugal and careful with money. This fortune was estimated
to £1,250,000 (£375 million by today's standards). Much of this wealth was
spent by Henry on maintaining his court and household, including many of
the building works he undertook on royal palaces. Tudor monarchs had to
fund all the expenses of government out of their own income. This income
came from the Crown lands that Henry owned as well as from customs duties
like tonnage and poundage, granted by parliament to the king for life. During
Henry's reign the revenues of the Crown remained constant (around
£100,000), but were eroded by inflation and rising prices brought about by
war. Indeed it was war and Henry's dynastic ambitions in Europe that meant
that the surplus he had inherited from his father was exhausted by the
mid-1520s. Whereas Henry VII had not involved Parliament in his affairs
very much, Henry VIII had to turn to Parliament during his reign for money,
in particular for grants of subsidies to fund his wars. The Dissolution of the
Monasteries provided a means to replenish the treasury and as a result the
Crown took possession of monastic lands worth £120,000 (£36 million) a
year. Henry had to debase the coinage in 1526 and 1539 in order to solve his
financial problems, and despite his ministers efforts to reduce costs and
waste at court, Henry died in debt.
Though mainly motivated by dynastic and personal concerns, and despite
never really abandoning the fundamentals of the Catholic Church, Henry
ensured that the greatest act of his reign would be one of the most radical
and decisive of any English monarch. His break with Rome in 1533–1534 was
an act with enormous consequences for the subsequent course of English
history beyond the Tudor dynasty. Not only in making possible the
transformation of England into a powerful (albeit very distinctive) nation; but
in the seizing of economic and political power from the Church by the
aristocracy, chiefly through the acquisition of monastic lands and assets — a
short-term strategy with long-term social consequences. Henry's decision to
entrust the regency of his son Edward's minor years to a decidedly
reform-oriented regency council, dominated by Edward Seymour, most likely
for the simple tactical reason that Seymour seemed likely to provide the
strongest leadership for the kingdom, ensured that the English Reformation
would be consolidated and even furthered during his son's reign. Such ironies
marked other aspects of his legacy.
He fostered humanist learning and yet was responsible for the deaths of
several outstanding English humanists. Obsessed with securing the
succession to the throne, he left as his only heirs a young son (who died
before his 16th birthday) and two daughters adhering to different religions.
The power of the state was magnified. Henry worked with some success to
make England once again a major player on the European scene but
depleted his treasury in the course of doing so, a legacy that has remained
an issue for English monarchs ever since.
Scarisbrick (1968) concludes that Henry was a formidable, captivating man
who "wore regality with a splendid conviction." But unpredictably his
overpowering charm could turn into anger and shouting, for he was
high-strung and unstable; hypochondriac and possessed of a strong streak of
cruelty. Smith (1971) considered him an egotistical border-line neurotic
given to great fits of temper and deep and dangerous suspicions, with a
mechanical and conventional, but deeply held piety, having at best "a
mediocre intellect" to hold these contradictory forces in harness.
English navy
Together with Alfred the Great and Charles II, Henry is traditionally cited as
one of the founders of the Royal Navy. His reign featured some naval warfare
and, more significantly, large royal investment in shipbuilding (including a
few spectacular great ships such as Mary Rose), dockyards (such as HMNB
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Portsmouth) and naval innovations (such as the use of cannon on board ship
— although archers were still deployed on medieval-style forecastles and
bowcastles as the ship's primary armament on large ships, or co-armament
where cannon were used). However, in some ways this is a misconception
since Henry did not bequeath to his immediate successors a navy in the
sense of a formalised organisation with structures, ranks, and formalised
munitioning structures but only in the sense of a set of ships. Elizabeth I still
had to cobble together a set of privately owned ships to fight off the Spanish
Armada (which consisted of about 130 warships and converted merchant
ships) and in the former, formal sense the modern British navy, the Royal
Navy, is largely a product of the Anglo-Dutch naval rivalry of the 17th
century. Still, Henry's reign marked the birth of English naval power and was
a key factor in England's later victory over the Spanish Armada.
Henry's break with Rome incurred the threat of a large-scale French or
Spanish invasion. To guard against this he strengthened existing coastal
defence fortresses such as Dover Castle and, at Dover, Moat Bulwark and
Archcliffe Fort, which he personally visited for a few months to supervise. He
built a chain of new 'castles' (in fact, large bastioned and garrisoned gun
batteries) along Britain's southern and eastern coasts from East Anglia to
Cornwall, largely built of material gained from the demolition of the
monasteries. These were known as Henry VIII's Device Forts.
Style and arms
Many changes were made to the royal style during his reign. Henry originally
used the style "Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England,
France and Lord of Ireland". In 1521, pursuant to a grant from Pope Leo X
rewarding a book by Henry, the Defence of the Seven Sacraments, attacking
Martin Luther, the royal style became "Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of
God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith and Lord of Ireland".
Following Henry's excommunication, Pope Paul III rescinded the grant of the
title "Defender of the Faith", but an Act of Parliament declared that it
remained valid; and it continues in royal usage to the present day.
In 1535, Henry added the "supremacy phrase" to the royal style, which
became "Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England and France,
Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland and of the Church of England in Earth
Supreme Head". In 1536, the phrase "of the Church of England" changed to
"of the Church of England and also of Ireland".
In 1541, Henry had the Irish Parliament change the title "Lord of Ireland" to
"King of Ireland" with the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, after being advised that
many Irish people regarded the Pope as the true head of their country, with
the Lord acting as a mere representative. The reason the Irish regarded the
Pope as their overlord was that Ireland had originally been given to the King
Henry II of England by Pope Adrian IV in the 12th century as a feudal
territory under papal overlordship. The meeting of Irish Parliament that
proclaimed Henry VIII as King of Ireland was the first meeting attended by
the Gaelic Irish chieftains as well as the Anglo-Irish aristocrats. The style
"Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland,
Defender of the Faith and of the Church of England and also of Ireland in
Earth Supreme Head" remained in use until the end of Henry's reign.
Henry's motto was "Coeur Loyal" ("true heart") and he had this embroidered
on his clothes in the form of a heart symbol and with the word "loyal". His
emblem was the Tudor rose and the Beaufort portcullis.
As Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father (i.e. those of the
kingdom), differenced by a label of three points ermine. As king, Henry's
arms were the same as those used by his predecessors since Henry IV:
Quarterly, Azure three fleurs-de-lys Or (for France) and Gules three lions
passant guardant in pale Or (for England).
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Adieu Madam Et Ma Mastres
madam et ma mastres.
mon solas et mon Joy.
iusque vous reuoye,
vous diz per graunt tristesse.
Adew, madam, and my mystresse,
Adew, my sollace and my ioye!
Adew untyll agayne I see yow,
Adew I saye ouercom by sadnesse.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Alac, Alac, What Shall I Do
Alac, alac, what shall I do,
For care is cast into my hart,
And trew love lokked therto?
Henry VIII, King of England
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Alas, What Shall I Do For Love?
Alas, what shall I do for love?
For love, alasse, what shall I do?
Syth now so kynd
I do you fynde
To kepe yow me unto?
Henry VIII, King of England
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Departure Is My Chef Payne
Departure is my chef payne;
I trust ryght wel of retorn agane.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Green Groweth the Holly
Green groweth the holly,
So doth the ivy.
Though winter blasts blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly.
As the holly groweth green
And never changeth hue,
So I am, ever hath been,
Unto my lady true.
As the holly groweth green
With ivy all alone
When flowers cannot be seen
And greenwood leaves be gone,
Now unto my lady
Promise to her I make,
From all other only
To her I me betake.
Adieu, mine own lady,
Adieu, my special
Who hath my heart truly
Be sure, and ever shall.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Helas Madam
Helas madam cel que ie me tant
soffre que soie voutre humble seruant
voutre vumble seruant ie ray a tousiours
e tant que ie viueray altre naimeray que vous.
Alas, madam, who I love so much,
Allow me to be your humble servant:
Your humble servant I will always remain,
And as long as I live, no other will I love.
Henry VIII, King of England
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If Love Now Reynyd
If love now reynyd as it hath bene
And war rewardit as it hath sene,
Nobyll men then wold suer enserch
All ways wherby thay myght it rech;
But envy reynyth with such dysdayne,
And causith lovers owtwardly to refrayne,
Which puttes them to more and more
Inwardly most grevous and sore;
The faut in whome I cannot sett;
But let them tell which love doth gett.
To lovers I put now suer this cace Which of ther loves doth get them grace?
And unto them which doth it know
Better than do I, I thynk it so.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Lusty Youth should us ensue
Lusty Youth should us ensue.
His merry heart shall sure all rue.
For whatsoever they do him tell,
It is not for him, we know it well.
For they would have him his Liberty refrain
And all merry company for to disdain,
But I will not so whatsoever they say,
But follow his mind in all that we may.
How should Youth himself best use
But all disdainers for to refuse?
Youth has, as chief assurance,
Honest Mirth with Virtue's pastance.
For in them consisteth great honour,
Though that disdainers would therein put error,
For they do sue to get them grace
All only riches to purchase.
With Good Order, Counsel, and Equity,
Good Lord, grant us our mansion to be!
For without their good guidance
Youth should fall in great mischance.
For Youth is frail and prompt to do,
As well vices as virtues to ensue.
Wherefore by these he must be guided
And Virtue's pastance must be therein used.
25 Now unto God this prayer we make,
26 That this rude play may well be take,
27 And that we may our faults amend,
28 An bliss obtain at our last end.
Henry VIII, King of England
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O My Hart!
O my hart and O my hart!
My hart it is so sore,
Sens I must nedys from my love depart
And know no cunse wherefore.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Passtime with good company
Pastime with good company
I love and shall unto I die.
Grudge whoso will, but none deny,
So God be pleased, this live will I.
For my pastance
Hunt, sing, and dance.
My heart is set
All godely sport
To my comfort.
Who shall me let?
Youth will have needs daliance,
Of good or ill some pastance.
Company me thinketh then best
All thoftes and fantasies to digest.
For idleness
Is chief mistress
Of vices all.
Than who can say
But "pass the day"
Is best of all?
Company with honesty
Is virtue, and vice to flee.
Company is good or ill
But every man hath his free will.
The best ensue,
The worst eschew,
My mind shall be.
Virtue to use,
Vice to refuse,
I shall use me.
Henry VIII, King of England
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The Tyme Of Youthe
The tyme of youthe is to be spent;
But vice in it shuld be forfent.
Pastymes ther be I nought treulye
Whych one may use, and vice denye;
And they be plesant to God and man,
Those shuld we covit wyn who can;
As featys of armys, and suche other
Wherby actyvenesse oon may utter.
Comparysons in them may lawfully be sett,
For therby corage is suerly owt fett:
Vertue it is then youth for to spend
In goode dysporttys whych it dothe fend.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Though some Saith that Youth Ruleth me
Though some saith that youth ruleth me,
I trust in age to tarry.
God and my right and my duty,
From them I shall never vary,
Though some say that youth ruleth me.
I pray you all that aged be,
How well did ye your youth carry?
I think some worse, of each degree:
Therein a wager lay dare I,
Though some saith that youth ruleth me.
Pastimes of youth sometime among,
None can say but necessary.
I hurt no man, I do no wrong,
I love true where I did marry,
Though some saith that youth ruleth me.
Then soon discuss that hence we must.
Pray we to God and Saint Mary
That all amend, and here an end,
Thus saith the king, the eighth Harry,
Though some saith that youth ruleth me.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Though that Men do Call it Dotage
Though that men do call it dotage,
Who loveth not wanteth courage;
And whosoever may love get,
From Venus sure he must it fet
Or else from her which is her heir,
And she to him must seem most fair.
With eye and mind doth both agree.
There is no boot: there must it be.
The eye doth look and represent,
But mind afformeth with full consent.
Thus am I fixed without grudge:
Mine eye with heart doth me so judge.
Love maintaineth all noble courage.
Who love disdaineth is all of the village:
Such lovers--though they take pain-It were pity they should obtain,
For often times where they do sue
They hinder lovers that would be true.
For whoso loveth should love but once.
Change whoso will, I will be none.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Wherto Shuld I Expresse
Wherto shuld I expresse
My inward hevynes?
No myrth can make me fayn
Tyl that we mete agayne.
Do way, dere hart, not so.
Let no thought yow dysmaye!
Thow ye now parte me fro,
We shall mete when we may.
When I remembyr me
Of your most gentyll mynde,
It may in no wyse agre
That I shuld be unkynde.
The daise delectable,
The violett wan and blo;
Ye ar not varyable;
I love you and no mo.
I make you fast and sure;
It ys to me gret payne
Thus longe to endure,
Tyll that we mete agayne.
Henry VIII, King of England
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'Whoso that will for gracë sue'
Whoso that will for gracë sue
His intent must needs be true,
And lovë her in heart and deed,
Else it were pity that he should speed.
Many one saith that love is ill,
But those be they which can no skill.
Or else because they may not obtain,
They would that other should it disdain.
But love is a thing given by God,
In that therefore can be none odd;
But perfect indeed and between two,
Wherefore then should we it eschew?
Henry VIII, King of England
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Whoso That Wyll All Feattes Optayne
Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne,
In love he must be withowt dysdayne,
For love enforyth all nobyle kynd
And dysdayne dyscorages all gentyl mynd.
Wherefor to love and be not loved
Is wors then deth? Let it be proved!
Love encoragith and makyth on bold;
Dysdayne abattyth and makith hym colde.
Love ys gevyn to God and man;
To woman also, I thynk, the same.
But dysdayne ys vice and shuld be refused;
Yet never the lesse it ys to moch used.
Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne,
In love he must be withowt dysdayne,
Grett pyte it ware, love for to compell
With dysdayne both falce and subtell.
Henry VIII, King of England
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Withowt Dyscord
Withowt dyscord
And bothe acorde
Now let us be;
Bothe hartes alone
To set in one
Best semyth me.
For when one sole
Ys in the dole
Of lovys payne,
Then helpe must have
Hymselfe to save
And love to optayne.
Wherfore now we
That lovers be
Let us now pray
Onys love sure
For to procure
Withowt denay.
Wher love so sewith,
Ther no hart rewith
But condyscend;
Yf contrarye,
What remedy?
God yt amen.
Henry VIII, King of England
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